Happiness, Wisdom, and Midwifery


I was gently chastised at book club last night. Although I had downloaded the book (We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg) to my iPad, I had not begun reading it. I reminded my bibliophile buds that I have faithfully read the books for the last two months, but I don’t think that cut any ice with them. I will read the book, especially now that I’ve heard a thought-provoking discussion, but for now I want to finish some other reading material.

Recently I wrote about my inability to stick with one book until the end. Oh, I finish each of them, but not necessarily that day or week. I read what I feel I need to read for that day. Some mornings I need some inspiration, and at night I like to read fiction. I reserve fiction for evenings because I usually get so immersed in the story that I don’t want to stop reading and go about my day. I want to see what happens to the character. Will Aminata ever be reunited with her child? Will Lina and Jonas survive to tell their stories?

Last night at book club I mentioned some books that I’ve been reading, and this morning am going to make a few comments on each in case you might want to read them too.

The Birth House by Ami McKay. The novel touches on some heavy-duty topics like birth and death and midwifery and cruelty. Life is raw and hard in Scots Bay. Even Aunt Fran with all of the trappings of wealth has her woes. Dora Rare, a teenager who interns with a midwife and later marries a philandering man, is the protagonist. Reading this novel has given me e a different look at midwifery and sisterhood. Women of all ages, social classes, eras have more in common than not.

Seven Thousand Ways to Listen by Mark Nepo.  This is a book that I will never completely finish. It’s so rich that the reader simply cannot take it all in during the first read…or even the second or the third. There are abundant choice phases and quotes such as Samuel Beckett’s, “I can’t go on. I go on.” And from Nepo, “We are like tall leaning trees. We sway in our humanness every which way, while our spirit roots firmly in an ever-deepening connection to the Earth.” See what I mean? I have to read and then stop and ponder.

After hearing some readings from The Book of Wisdom last week, I ordered the Kindle version from Amazon and am dipping into that a little every day too.  Like the above book, this one can’t be read and tossed aside. They are both powerful and require rereading and savoring. Here’s a sample from Chapter 1, Verse 7. “For the Spirit of the Lord filleth the world: and that which containeth all things hath knowledge of the voice.”

Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project.  Upbeat and instructive, this book is totally different from any of the above. Although some people have dissed the author and her work (more on this later), I’m loving the book. It’s well-written and filled with advice, quotes, and research from psychologists, poets, philosophers, and spiritual leaders. Yesterday I read, “Happiness is a critical factor for work, and work is a critical factor for happiness,” and I knew it was going to be a great chapter.

Wednesday I chanced upon a book hiding beneath some others on my shelf.  Entitled A Family Christmas, it’s filled with recipes, crafts, stories, traditions, and drawings. I LOVE it. I was all set to make cornbread wafers until I discovered that my only flour was self-rising.

Pictures of the Mind, Miriam Boleyn-Fitzgerald. After stating that neuroplasticity is the most important general discovery in neuroscience in the last decade, the author further states, “More than your heart, your kidney, your liver, the brain is built to change in response to experience and in response to training.” That’s exciting news. Whenever I get in a snit about something, my husband reminds me that, “It’s all between your ears,” and I think he’s on to something.

So members of the Second Thursday Book Club, keep me on the roster. I’m still one of you. Just as soon as I find out what happens to Dora, I’ll begin December’s selection. Does anyone else out there have a problem with sticking to one book at a time?

About jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer
This entry was posted in book reviews, books, psychology, reading and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Happiness, Wisdom, and Midwifery

  1. sandradan1 says:

    Hi Marlajayne, thanks for finding and liking my Spanish blog. You might like my writing blog too at http://www.sandradanby.com/


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